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SCENES IN MEXICO.
From the United Service Magazine.
THE WILD INDIAN.
"HAVE you ever been in the northern provinces?" I asked an old gentleman at one of our Tertulias.
"Oh, si! muchas veces; I have often traversed Oonora, Chihuahua, and the regions bordering on the wild Indians."
"Then you have been among the Apaches?" I exclaimed, eagerly.
"Yes, I have seen them very often; but I have never visited their country, because they are 'muy barbaros.' They used to come down amongst us, but this was only very rarely, and then generally for the purpose of plunder: they are a fine race of men, but muy barbaros.'
"I was at that time a soldier in the Spanish army, and have often followed in their track; but they are by no means a pleasant enemy to encounter, for they use their bow and arrow with surprising skill; their horses, too, are inconceivably swift, they appear and disappear like light
"They are bold and desperate in their forages, as I have good cause to remember. On one occasion I had the command of fifty men in an incursion into their country. At nightfall we bivouacked in some deserted huts on the verge of a pine forest, with a vast savannah of high grass before us. We placed our mules and horses in the corral, and retired to sleep with our serrasses on. I had just fallen asleep, when I was roused by a very peculiar faint moan, which came swelling through the air. I started up, and on going out of the hut, found our sentries at their post. Again we heard the cry, which was now louder, and appeared to issue from the corral. I approached closer; nothing but our animals met my view;-once more the harsh cry sounded through the air, but it was not the noise either of mules or the neighing of horses. I instantly ordered our sentries to beat the alarm, and my men were quickly assembled. "Can any of you tell me the meaning of these strange sounds?' I inquired.
"No one replied; but all continued anxiously listening till the noise was again repeated. An old Indian, who acted as our guide, now stepped forward, and said, 'The Indians are hovering near us:-it is the cry of the mules when they
smell the Indians.'
pearance of the enemy, when the sentries announced that they distinctly heard the tramp of cavalry. They were all called in, and we took our station in silence within the huts, while about twenty men were concealed among the pinetrees to act as sharp-shooters. In the meantime we had cut down branches from the trees, and fortified the entrances to the huts with palisades, as well as the shortness of the time would permit. I briefly addressed the men, telling them they must expect no quarter, but must resolve either to beat off the Indians or die, for their lives. We soon heard the enemy advancing in a circle, uttering wild shrieks and cries: they then rushed upon the huts, wheeling round and round.
"I had ordered my men to reserve their fire till they were close upon us, and had actually commenced hostilities; for the night being very clear, we could distinctly recognize the Indians at some distance. Several now alighted, and attempted to enter the corral by breaking down the palisades. At that instant I gave the order to fire, and many an Indian staggered and fell, while in the act of rushing upon us with yells and shouts. Another volley from our musketry for an instant checked their advance, while the sharp-shooters, concealed in the woods, fired in amongst them, and made great havoc by their unexpected assault. After a desperate conflict, they retired, carrying off with them the bodies of their dead and wounded comrades. As they retreated, they discharged clouds of arrows among us; we, however, lost but three men, though many were severely wounded. Had they had firearms, they would quickly have driven us from our post, for they fought with desperate courage."
As the old soldier spoke, his countenance was lighted for a moment with the fire of war, and then gradually sunk back into its wonted quiet expression.
HORSES AND MULES.
The Mexican mules are smaller than the hors
es, and particularly adapted for travelling; they rarely make a false step, on which account the traveller willingly resigns himself to their guidance in abrupt or dangerous mountain passes; if speed, however, be an object, the mules will not be urged beyond their usual trot, and you must therefore resort to horses. The Mexican horses are also smaller than the European, but "Much struck with what he said, I questioned in general stronger and more capable of endurhim more closely on the subject; he told me, in ing fatigue. It is well known that, previous to the same words, that the mules scented the In- the conquest, Mexico possessed neither mules, dians at many leagues distant, and always inti- horses, nor cattle; all these having been intromated their terror by these strange cries. He duced by the Spaniards; they are now extremeobserved that the only way in which they couldly numerous, and on the northern plains of Mexbe accounted for, was from the fact, that the In-ico, they are to be met with in large herds, living dians eat mules' flesh, and that there was proba- almost in a wild state. Many hundreds of these bly some connection between their scent and the mules and horses are caught every year, and odor of the Indians. I thought it much more sent for sale to Mexico and to the mines. By purlikely that they discerned the far-off tramp of the chasing a large number of these horses before mounted Indians. I accordingly gave the neces- they are broken in, you may get a horse in Zasary directions, and placed scouts among the catecas at the rate of ten or twelve piastres (fifty long grass in advance of the huts. or sixty shillings,) each, while the mules fetch from twenty to twenty-four piastres, (five to six pounds.) In Mexico, the capital, the price is higher, on account of the expense of transport,
"About an hour passed away without any ap
* A fenced village or settlement.
yet even there you may buy a very fair horse, | children, and the rest of the inmates, sleep on the which has been already ridden, for sixty to eigh-ground on hides. A chair or table is an appendty piastres, (fifteen to twenty pounds.) For a age of rare occurrence. A small painted chest very fine horse, however, you must pay from commonly holds the best apparel of the family three to four hundred piastres, (seventy-five to a and the valuables of the mistress. Over it you hundred pounds,) according to its qualities; but generally see a picture of the Virgin and other large and strong mules generally fetch a higher saints. A shelf displays the glasses, cups, and sum than horses. other utensils. This, with a large pan for holdThe Mexican horses and mules are distinguish-ing water, and a saddle and bridle, completes ed for their paces. Many have the "sobre pas- the furniture of a Mexican of the poorer class. so," a species of pace wherein the animal lifts up The houses of the middling ranks, in the warm and puts down his two right or left feet at the districts along the coast, are indeed better, but same time, but raising the fore-foot more than comparatively as limited in accommodation as the hinder, which produces a quicker, and yet those of the lower class. They are generally gentler motion than trotting. If the horse is to built of plaster, have wooden doors, but only be used for the saddle, its price is determined by sliding shutters, without glass windows, and conthe rapidity and smoothness of this pace. The tain seldom more than one large sitting-room animal can acquire the "sobre passo" only on and a bed-room. The furniture is very plain, tolerably smooth roads; but with it, a horse can though frequently set off with a display of silver perform, without much exertion, a journey of utensils. This is the ordinary style of building; twelve to fifteen leagues (thirty or forty miles,) yet in some places we may observe fine stone per diem. The Mexican horses are fed much houses, which bespeak the opulence of the ownbelow ours, both at home and on journeys, anders. yet, with all our superior training, ours are decidedly inferior as it regards the endurance of fatigue. The Mexican horse has scarcely reached the end of its day's journey when the saddle and bridle are removed, without any regard to its being in a heat; it is then turned into an open court, without any covering being thrown over it, and frequently left exposed, without food, to the scorching sun or rain. It is then taken to drink, and has a large ration of maize-straw or maize-leaves, (rastrojo,) sufficient both for its evening and morning feed. It is very seldom that the Mexican takes the trouble of dividing the food, and giving half in the evening and the rest on the following morning. The beast is saddled in the morning, without any more drink till nine or ten o'clock, unless they happen to meet with water; nor does it have any more food till the close of the day's journey. It is necessary to be very careful not to give your horse drink early in the morning immediately after a feed of maize; this produces diarrhoea, which weakens it so much that it is unable to pursue its journey.
The dwellings of the poorer classes are extremely simple; for in this warm climate it is more agreeable to them to enjoy a free circulation of air. A single room suffices for the wants of a family, both by day and night. The kitchen, which forms a detached hut, is occupied by the servants. Four upright posts support the light roof, which is composed of bamboo-laths, covered with palm-leaves, without any other fastening than cords made of the leaves of the American aloe, (maguey,) or thongs of undressed hides. The walls are in like manner formed of bamboo, having a bamboo cornice running all round to support the roof. These sort of huts have no window; the door is made of bamboo canes, tied together, and hung upon leather straps. The floor is nothing more than the soil well trodden down.
The furniture is as simple as the construction of the hut. Four posts, held together by crossbeams, and covered over with bamboo, constitute the bed of the master of the family; the
THE NATIVE INDIANS.
Gautla is a large village, inhabited almost entirely by Indians. We found the market-place thronged with them; many had come from a great distance to attend the celebration of high mass, this being a festival. The church was small, and filled to overflowing. The whole congregation were on their knees during the greater part of the lengthy ceremonial, the solemnity of which was continually disturbed by the violent manner in which the people struck their breasts, making the sign of the cross, &c. There was no organ; but such music as could not fail to recall to earth the thoughts of the most devout worshipper.
On the elevation of the host I was startled by the sudden noise of a small drum and fife, interrupted by frequent pauses, during which the musicians gathered fresh strength for their performance. I was the more struck by this attempt at music, as I had generally believed the Indians to possess some taste for the art. In the course of my journeys I had often seen them with a small guitar in their hands; and on my way from Tampico several times fell asleep in my hammock, while our muleteers and guide amused themselves by singing and dancing with the people of the house. It seems that the skill of the Indians on the guitar is confined to a few chords; yet are they passionately fond of the song and dance.
The women wear a red or blue woollen skirt, bound at the edge with a broad piece of white calico; it reaches to the ankles, and is tied at the waist. The upper part of their persons is covered with a handkerchief, resembling the Spanish mantilla; it is made of blue and white, or black and white striped cotton, and the length is treble the width. They have a string of blue glass beads round the neck, and their hair is fastened behind in a tuft or numerous braids, or sometimes left to hang unconfined over the shoulders.
THE PUBLIC MALLS IN MEXICO. Mexico abounds in public walks and prome
nades; the most frequented are the " Alameda," | vested with a leathern coat of mail (anquera,) the "Pasco Nuevo," and the "Pasco de las Vi-which reaches down to the shanks. The anquegas;" each has its stated hours and seasons of ra is also embroidered, and bordered with a fringe the year. The Alameda lies in the western part of iron, brass, or silver, which produces a loud of the city; it has a large basin in the centre, jingling at every step. The original design of from which radiate the various walks, which are the anquera was, probably, to defend the horse thickly planted with trees and shrubs; the whole from arrows; its present object is to prevent the is inclosed with a low wall, along the inner part animal from beating about its tail, and compel it of which is a fine drive. to raise its forefeet by pressing upon the hinder parts.
The Pasco Nuevo is not far from the Alameda, extending from the San Cosme canal almost as far as to that of Chapollepec; but being less shady, and at the same time very large, it always looks desolate.
The Pasco de las Vigas is not much more inviting; it is nearly half a league in length, planted with a double avenue of trees, and runs along the canal of Chaleo. Its fashionable season lasts from Easter to Whitsuntide; that of the Pasco Nuevo till autumn; and that of the Alameda during the winter; at all other periods of the year they are quite deserted.
The armas de agua are two dressed calf, bear, or tiger skins, the fur turned outwards, which are fastened on each side of the pommel, and, as their name implies, drawn over the legs during rain, so as completely to cover the lower part of the rider. The armas de agua are considered a very ornamental part of the Mexican saddle, the top being bordered with red or yellow morocco, and embroidered with gold or silver.
The costume of the rider is as grotesque as that of his horse; the indescribable, of the most undescribable cut and shape, and accompanied by sundry strange appendages. Below the knee he wears a stag skin to protect his leg against thorns; yet his nether equipment is, on the whole, highly ornamental, and sometimes costs from seventy to eighty piastres, (fourteen to twenty pounds.)
The hat is of a reddish brown, broad brimmed, but the crown very shallow; both brim and crown are trimmed with gold lace, the under side of the brim, which is green, is further decorated with gold lace, about two inches wide.
Towards five o'clock in the afternoon, every one hastens to the promenades, especially on Sundays and holidays. Whoever wishes to obtain a sight of the fashionable world of Mexico, must visit the Pasco de las Vigas on Easter Monday; there he will see, crowded in close ranks, the numerous, multiform carriages of the capital, heavy, but highly varnished, and profusely ornamented with silver, each drawn by two beautiful mules, whose harness and trappings are equally decorated with silver or brass, and stand out extremely well on their dark skins. The fair seno-fect of this costume is heightened by the cloak, ras of Mexico, attired in their richest apparel, (manga or frazada.) The manga is a piece of pass in slow procession before the gaze of the woollen cloth, five or six yards in length, generaladmiring crowd. Every description of carriage ly of a light blue color, rounded at the corners, is put in requisition, from the splendid equipage and has a square hole cut in the centre to admit to the humble hackney, in their colors and orna- the head. It is often lined with red or yellow ments presenting as great a variety as the com- calico, and bordered with sundry trimmings of plexion and costume of the ladies, of every grade ribbons and fringe, interwoven with glass beads. of society. The European stranger, however, This trimming is generally of black silk, and is struck, not so much by the mules and their very frequently of gold tissue. The manga furtrappings, as by the grotesque leathern bag, nished in this style, the laced hat, the richly emgenerally ornamented with a brass plate, into broidered breeches, and the botas, sometimes which the tail of each animal is forced, as into a cost as much as three hundred piastres, (seventy hair-bag. The coachman does not occupy the pounds or more ;) yet we see them worn by perbox, but is mounted on one of the mules, to give sons who have expended their whole fortune in him more command over them. the purchase-a fortune. perhaps, just acquired The equestrians are no less numerous and re- at the gaming-table: while others, such as mulemarkable in their appearance than the carriages. teers, &c., gladly deny themselves many positive A horse intended for the promenades (pasco) necessaries, and give up their hard-earned savmust be well fed, but not too large, and have a ings to become the happy owners of a manga. long thick mane; but its chief recommendation The frazada is a large woollen covering, disis raising the forefeet very high, with an incli-playing a gay pattern, and furnished, like the nation outwards; on account of this motion it is manga, with a hole for the head; it is principalcalled brazeador. Only a single rein is used, ly worn on horseback, and is almost impervious generally of white leather, thickly studded with to rain. silver, with a sharp Arabian bit. Along the up- The rapidly increasing progress of European per part of the frontlet runs a slip of fur, three or manners and fashions has had the effect of throwfour fingers wide, embroidered at both ends with ing this costume much into disuse; and we fregold or silver. It is made to draw down, so as quently see the Mexican caballero attired in the to cover up the left eye of the horse in mounting. Spanish mantle or capa, an enormous pair of The saddle is a kind of Hungarian affair, circu- clattering spurs, weighing, with their various lar behind, and terminating in a pommel in front; etceteras, from two to three pounds; a large cotevery part is thickly mounted with silver. The ton cloth, fastened on the right shoulder and carsaddle is covered with a richly embroidered fur ried under the left arm; in very hot weather he covering; the armas de agua are suspended puts it over his head, below the hat, as a protecfrom the pommel, and to complete this ridiculous tion against the sun. This is the sun cloth, (el accoutrement, the back part of the horse is in-pano de sol,) often embroidered at the four cor
ners by some fair hand, and bestowed as a token | At the depth of a few yards we came to the of favor.
large broad slabs of stone, similar to those of a well-made staircase; the vaulted domes of the passage and galleries leaving sufficient space for the miner to pursue his laborious operations with convenience and comfort. Owing to the great depth of the mine, it was a considerable time ere we reached the more important works. Here we found several hundred Indian miners, in a state of almost perfect nudity, following their toilsome tasks.
image of the Virgin, around which some candles THE TERTULIAS-FEMALE SMOKING. were burning in her honor. Having paid the requisite obeisance and muttered a few The Tertulias are frequented by ladies as well the Indian guide conducted me deeper and prayers, as gentlemen, who meet for the purpose of pass-deeper into the subterranean galleries and ing away their time in smoking, chatting, danc-chambers of this rich and extensive mine. The ing, and singing. The custom of smoking has descent, for many hundred yards, was formed of spread to a most remarkable extent in Mexico, among both sexes. If you stop a friend in the street, instantly he offers you a cigar; if you make a call, the first inquiries after your health are followed by a similar offer; and the ladies feel not the slightest hesitation in taking out their little cigar case and joining you. If you go to a Tertulia, you are sure to find cigars there, for every one smokes. If you go to the theatre or a ball, you must provide yourself with cigars, for it is etiquette to present them to the ladies and At one end of the first gallery there were your friends. If you have any business to trans- some planks slightly laid across poles, which act with an acquaintance, a cigar must be light-supported three or four miners, who were drived before it can be settled, for the Mexican thinks ing iron punches into the hard matrix of the ore; and arranges best while enveloped in fumes; in in another direction twelve or fifteen blasts had short, it is impossible to do any thing, or go any been preparing and just completed. The cavern where, without being called on to smoke, and it was very deep and extensive, and the glare of is considered unpolite to refuse a proffered cigar, the few burning torches shed a faint and sickly even if you dislike smoking; you must accept it,light over the crowd of human beings, whose although you are not obliged to make use of it. dusky forms could be distinguished from the ore Both men and women would dread losing against which they leant, only by the occasional such an amusement; they would forfeit a pleas-movement of their almost naked persons. ant mode of passing their time, and break down Every one being ordered to retire, we ascenda sort of convenance in society, if they were not ed a higher portion of the cavern, where we to smoke. The true-hearted Mexican fair thinks could obtain a full view of the blasts without that she is destitute of one of her attractions if the slightest danger. The signal was at length she has not a cigar in her mouth; she wafts given, and the solitary miner who fired the last honied words to her lover from her rosy lips, in match bounded up from the cavern. An ebbing eddying fumes, and extends her dimpled arm flash of light instantaneously burst forth,-and from beneath the envious concealment of the then a deafening crash of falling fragments of mantilla, to light a paper cigar, or to adjust that rock resounded through the cavern. The fumes of her lover. How could she fill up the time, of the exploded powder hung for a moment heaviwhich she now whiles away in smoking, or howly on the ground, till a current of air rushing in retain the gracious offices of her duenna without from the adjoining levels, carried them away in such an occasional mark of her favor? If you undulating wreaths.
endeavor to convince her of its unseemliness for We returned to the cavern, which was thickly so fair a sex, she has a thousand things to say strewn with the glittering ore and pieces of rock. in its defence; yet, to the honor of the ladies of Bodies of miners were immediately appointed,Mexico be it said, they have been the first to some to reduce the more bulky masses, others yield to the remonstrances of strangers, so that to carry them to the dispacho, an office where it is daily becoming more rare to see young la- their weight and estimated value are registered; dies smoking in public; it is beginning also to after which the whole was conveyed to the surdisappear at the theatre, and the balls in the cap-face of the mine, either on the backs of the Indiital, whence it is no longer necessary to have a ans or by means of machinery. separate smoking-room for the ladies. A pipe The grand dispacho is placed near the tiro is never seen in Mexico, for every one uses ci- general, or general shaft; the arched passage gars. These, however, are of two sorts, the leading to it from the interior of the mine graduPuros, made of pure tobacco, and the Cigarros, ally increases in magnitude towards the tiro, till which contain only a small quantity of tobacco at a short distance from the dispacho it expands wrapped in paper. The women smoke the Ci-into an immense hall, beautifully arched with garros, which are only half the size of the Puros. masonry. The enormous sums which have VALENCIANA-LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF A MINER'S Life.
been expended in giving adequate security to every part of the mine, by means of vaulted passages, excited our astonishment; and, as I paused beneath the splendid dome leading to the tiro, and reflected upon the untiring labors of the poor Indians, I could not help remarking to myself, "The European may vent his contempt elsewhere than on the head of the Indi an!"
Passing on to the verge of the shaft, I supported myself by a beam with one hand, and in the
other held a flaming torch over the yawning abyss; some were descending, others making the ascent, this was all that met the eye, till, in its endeavors to penetrate still further down, every object was lost in impenetrable obscurity. The tiro is of an octagonal shape, and is about six or seven hundred yards in depth, and thirteen or fourteen yards across. Tracing its downward course by means of the faint flickering light, I paused for an instant, and felt an involuntary shudder, as the thought of falling into it flashed across my mind. I started back, and, seizing the arm of my Indian guide, returned to the cavern.
SONGS OF THE FLOWERS.
From the Dublin University Magazine.
NURSLING of the new-born year, Sporting with the tempest's might, Like the snow-flake I appear, Robed in winter's vestal white.
BY MRS. CRAWFORD.
From the Metropolitan.
OH! tell me not of sorrow,
My heart's too young for care,
My mother always tells me
At night, when round the hearth
How swiftly moments fleet!
With golden suns above me,
And flow'rs beneath my feet, And friends that dearly love me, Oh surely life is sweet: How can I hate the world, That never hated me? The sails of Hope unfurl'd, Dance o'er a summer sea: Then tell me not of sorrow, My heart's too young for care; A brighter wreath to-morrow Than this shall bind my hair.